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back to article Apple vs the iPad Bedwetters

Apple's new iPad has caused an amazing outbreak of Chicken Little-ism. If the iPad is successful, it's curtains for the internet, for freedom and for humanity as we know it. Have you felt a piece of this fall on your head? Permit me to introduce you to the Professional Bedwetter. It's someone who doesn't like what they see, …

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Anonymous Coward

Clever

Apple are very clever aren't they?

No not in producing the iPad, but it generating all this publicity. There really is no such thing as bad publicity.

Perhaps if we all ignore them (especially the media) they'll just go away. A bit like a hyperactive toddler.

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Yes, Very Clever

Apple played a very smart game from the first moment someone suggested they should launch a netbook. Everyone 'knew' they'd have to release something 'in response' to everyone elses netbook releases (cue lots of fake photoshopped mini-macbook images) and Apple took that expectation and whipped it up into a frenzy. And then the iPad actually came out and all I could think was "is that it?!" It's a big screen iPod Touch with a slightly reworked OS. Hardly deserving of all the hype it got.

Yes, the software "whitelist" (AKA The Apple Store) makes it a closed system, but the hardware has limited appeal and limited functionality as well. If you don't recognise all these factors when you buy it and then find out it doesn't do what you want it to, then boo-hoo sucks to be you. Don't come crying to me for sympathy. Read the specs next time, just like when you buy a new iPod/PMP/phone/whatever. Disappointed and limited, but on closer to being the end of the world as we know it than anything else Apple has ever sold. (And I'm writing this on a Powerbook G4, BTW)

Can we get a "shrug" icon please?

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Anonymous Coward

I don't remember seeing any frenzy-whipping from Cupertino

lots from click-hungry tech blogs and news sites, mind you

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No Hype…

Apple didn't hype anything. They sent out a postcard and invited the press to an hour long presentation. The press and blogosphere did all the hyping, foaming at the mouth both for and against a product most of them have never seen, much less actually used.

Compare what Apple did to the Google Chrometablet mockups which suddenly, magically started floating around last week or total disaster known as the Crunchpad which completely missed all price/technology/open source goals or the complete vaporware otherwise known as Microsoft Courier, or the silly stealth bomber/alien technology ads Moto ran for the Droid. That's what I call hype.

Apple shows a real human hand working real apps on a real iPhone. You can't get more real than that.

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WTF?

You're spoiled

You see a big screen iPod Touch and think "is that it?!" How quickly you tire of wonders! Only a few years ago a regular Touch was pure science fiction, now it's so ubiquitous and "right" that you forget how truly amazing it is.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Eh?

"Only a few years ago a regular Touch was pure science fiction"

So, a handheld touchscreen device was pure science fiction only a few years ago? Damn. I must be a time traveller then because I'm pretty sure my HTC built PDA/Phone, while admittedly not nearly as slick looking as a iPhone/iPod Touch, has been in my pocket for the last 3 years!! Wish I'd chose to bring back the winning lottery numbers instead of the bloody phone though!!

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Alien

@Sam

Hmmm, seem to remember quite a few folk had open, usable touchscreen PMPs on the market quite a while before Apple even realised their precious clickwheel was getting a bit long in the tooth. A bit late to market with their truly amazing sci-fi wonder were they not?

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Jobs Halo

A bit late to market AC?

Yep. USB. That was introduced before the iMac and no-one used it until... look what happened there.

MP3 players w/ 512mg. They were out before the iPod and didn't really catch on until... look what happened there.

WiFi. That was out before Airport in drips-&-drabs and was never really considered as a 'wireless convenience for joe average' until... look what happened there.

Brand computer store. Several name brand computer companies have or had stores like the Apple Store and they were nothing more than a place that 'showed' their equipment and that-was-it... look what happened there.

Touch-screens - you 'touched' on that already and those were nothing more than poking a finger (or a stick) to a screen instead of a mouse... look what happened (and quite possibly, is going to happen) there.

Yeah, there's no denying, Apple seems to always be late to the market but once they show up, everyone turns, looks, and sees a true show-off and how it's suppose to be done... while being served!

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FAIL

Control the Internet?

Not with the iPad, I'm reasonably certain.

How do I know? My wife, who loves her shiny 24" iMac, hates the name. If she won't buy one because of the name---

And I've already got a Macbook Air that, as far as I'm concerned, has a lot more going for it than the iPad in nearly the same form factor. I just don't see the point of the iPad frankly.

So who is left to buy them? Die hard fanbois? Once they've all bought theirs, then who? A bit like all the yuppies in the early 80s who bought all those fugly Saab 99/900s, and once everyone who wanted one bought one, they never sold another.

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re: Control the Internet?

"So who is left to buy them? Die hard fanbois? Once they've all bought theirs, then who?..."

I know it's fashionable to say it's the 'die hard fanbois' will make up the main market for the iPad, but I can't see it myself. In all the mac-centric forums like at macrumors.com, the reaction has been bad towards the iPad. If you go back to when the iPod was launched, you'll also see in the archived threads at MR say, that the fanboys were saying that Apple had lost its mind (again) and that it would fail, but if it listened to its 'real' customers, the company would flourish.

This isn't to say that the iPad will have anything like the success as the iPod, but I don't think the 'Apple fanboys will buy anything that Apple churns out' argument stacks up. What the fanboys really bleat on about wanting is a mid-range tower.... but that ain't going to happen.

Rather ironically, a lot of the 'die hard fanbois' see the MB Air as rather pointless (a case of 'it's no good to me, QED it's not any good to anyone) and owners of the machines as having more money than sense... something that many would equate with kettles slagging off pots.

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Re: Control the Internet?

"A bit like all the yuppies in the early 80s who bought all those fugly Saab 99/900s, and once everyone who wanted one bought one, they never sold another."

So, erm, a bit every product ever sold by anyone, anywhere. Supply and demand and all that?

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"So who is left to buy them?"

I would do if I had the cash. I have a desktop PC and a small laptop. But neither is convenient to sit around with on the sofa of an evening.

The laptop DOES more, granted, but it's not as easy to hold (from what I have seen of the iPad) and makes my lap too hot to sit with all evening. The iPad looks like a simple, easy way to keep up with email, Twitter, Facebook, web, etc, all with software that, although tightly controlled by Apple, works and does work well.

I am no Apple fanboy and after using an iPhone for six months, there's no way on earth I'd ever buy one (Android phone user now), but the iPad IS a clever and easy to use appliance that I think will find it's way into a LOT of households.

Will there be many out in the wild? I don't think we'll be seeing legions of users on the tube or in coffee shops, no. But indoors, with WiFi, then yes, I think there is a market.

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Alert

No real threat

The furore surrounding the iPad is getting beyond silly. (Best summed up by Steve Bell's cartoons in the Guardian). Neither the iPad, nor indeed Apple, pose any real threat to the internet.

It could however be lethal in the hands of phone throwing celebrities, so perhaps should be banned on health and safety grounds?

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FAIL

control the internet

This is similar to americans not realising countries exist beyond their shores right ....

apple owners not realizing there are other technologies and software resources other than apps store

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No such thing as bad publicity?

Gary Glitter begs to differ... ;)

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FAIL

who cares....

ok, so the members of the church of jobs are going to run out and get a moses tablet, the sales teams in companies up and down the country are gonna fight to be first in the office to get one... not for function or form, but just for the fact it will be seen as the latest gadget to be seen with, and therefore if you are any good at your job then you can afford to waste the £600 quid or whatever they are going to extract off you... apple will sell them by the bucket load... and then sell them again to the same customers next year when they add copy and paste to it or some other function that should have been in the original release.

The iphone has no doubt been a success, and has made a lot of money for St Jobs and probably the biggest issue that holds it back is screen size. How many iphone users have said to themselves, "i love this iphone (or ipod touch), but it would be so cool if the screen was netbook sized".

well, be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.

in principle, the moses tablet is a good upgrade from the Jesus phone, but it has one major drawback... its size? its too damn big to fit in your pocket.... so where is it going to go? right in your bag full of other crap you have to lug about the place. which is exactly where the market for smart-phones comes into play... so you don't have to carry a suitcase with you everywhere.

as far as portability goes, a good netbook will give you all the useful function a moses tablet can give you. plus the option to install whatever apps you want to...

in principle, very nice, but in practice, it will be more of a pain in the ass than a Jesus phone.

Apple... both a epic fail, and a massive success at the same time....

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or ....

people look and smirk and mutter "What a knob"

and advoid that person from then on and forget to invite down the pub ...

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phatPod not end of world. Official.

Hang on. I'll get my magnifying glass and check Apple's share of the market.

Can't wait for Apple to license a range of designer garments with really enormous pockets, and then sue a third party handle manufacturer for breaching their patent.

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FAIL

"Hang on. I'll get my magnifying glass and check Apple's share of the market."

It's bigger than you think it is.

Microsoft's biggest market is corporations. They sell volume licenses to all those companies which keep PCs sitting on desks in all those offices around the globe.

But Apple don't give a damn about the corporate sector; they sell (and advertise) primarily to the consumer sector, so those statistics are useless. Corporate sales massively skew the figures.

Most of the "market share" stats that compare Apple with Microsoft are comparing apples with oranges: they include the corporate sales which are utterly f*cking irrelevant to Apple's business, making it look like Microsoft are trouncing Apple in *every* market. (The two companies aren't even rivals!)

Ask anyone who develops software for the Mac and they'll cheerfully point out that their sales are quite healthy, thanks. In fact, many developers who support both Windows and OS X report similar sales figures on *both* platforms.

All the evidence points to Apple doing rather better in the consumer sector than the skewed statistics would have you believe. The poor data out there makes it impossible for me to state categorically exactly what Apple's share of the consumer market is, but my research points to a figure much closer to 30% or so.

That's not bad for a company whose real rivals are the likes of Sony, not Microsoft.

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Thumb Up

A Sony Engineering Team...

...was tasked with creating a working radio that would fit in your shirt pocket.

Try as they might, they just couldn't quite shoehorn the needed components into the desired form factor.

Solution: for the rollout, they had shirts custom made with slightly larger pockets. Spot on, Tron.

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Go

Wow

GREAT article.

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Coffee/keyboard

You Sir

Owe me a new Sarcasm detector !!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

All rather reminiscent of ye olde Usenet days

when the WebTV hordes were seen on the horizon, threatening to bring about The End Of The World with their lack of netiquette and failure to bring stimulating reasoned debate to the table (not that there was any in the first place, but that's a different story). What happened in the end, of course, was that the place became a lot less po-faced and self-regarding before the WebTV hordes eventually left and found their rightful place in Youtube comments, returning Usenet to the desolate, funless wasteland it was before, and everybody unbunched their panties.

What I've come to conclude over the last few days is that the iPad is in no way a substitute for or threat to any of the existing models of computer usage: it's just a different paradigm. It's not FOR people who want to run Office or Photoshop or OS/2: it's for people who want a window on this Interweb thing without feeling that they're becoming "computer people". It's exactly what netbooks were supposed to do, except they looked like familiar laptops, ran familiar software and then people wanted to run Office and Photoshop on them, so the screens got bigger, the processor faster and netbooks suddenly became those very same familiar laptops.

This ain't going to happen to the iPad. Expect its users to crop up in Youtube comments.

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Go

Headcrabs!

Back when Apple was a basket case and Microsoft was foisting Windows 95 on an unsuspecting world, I used to think of Apple in the sad, fond way folk tend to of the runty underdog. Now I find myself really wishing Apple would just go away - not because I'm "haunted by the thought that somebody, somewhere might be enjoying themselves" with their devices (which is undoubtedly so, in the same vacuous way that people "enjoy" listening to The Black Eyed Peas) but because their PoS closed devices are, by their growing de facto status, showing every capacity to hamper my own bloody enjoyment!

Nice article though. The sky-is-falling brigade are always good for a laugh, and there's a few good points made and some nifty phrases I can file away under "things to say when in need of lines to wind up a web2.0tard".

PS: Well done for getting by without mentioning Cory Doctorow.

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FAIL

RE: Headcrabs

I assume you'ev got one and that's why "their PoS closed devices are, by their growing de facto status, showing every capacity to hamper my own bloody enjoyment!"

...but assuming you do have one and think it's a PoS, the solution is clear: Buy something else!

Of course, if you don't have one then you don't bloody well know what you're talking about. Either way around, you've just made yourself look like an arse...

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Badgers

ODFO

I did have an iPod once and yes I did buy something else much better but until you can understand the point of what I said, half in jest, then I humbly suggest you take your opinion and shove it.

PS: I *am* an arse, so really I'm not in the slightest bit worried about looking like one, but really -- thanks so much for the heads-up.

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WTF?

What the hell is wrong with The Black Eyed Peas?!

Can one only REALLY enjoy Mozart?

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Pint

Lol

Mozart as straw man in some online bickerfest about a glorified picture frame. How very.

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Black Helicopters

Danger

"PS: Well done for getting by without mentioning Cory Doctorow."

He's a greater danger to the internet than the pad. Real grief.

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Stop

iPad schmipad

I work in a tech area, and have a fair few tech-savvy mates outside of work, and the general consensus about this seems to be "meh". Fanbois love it, the rest of us couldn't care less. Enough already.

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B 9

meh meh

I work in a tech area and know a lot of tech savvy people and our opinion of your and your friends opinion is "meh". Haters hate it, the rest are waiting to get their hands on one first.

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At last!

It's taken about two weeks, but here is a reasoned discussion about the iPad and what it actually means.

I'm sure that El Reg has enjoyed the many, many pageviews for the umpteen stories about the latest shiny Apple tech, not to mention the earnest (and pointless) comment wars by people quoting specifications and dogma at each other.

This article started to steer the debate in the right direction: Apple are selling an appliance for people who want to passively consume small segments of the internet, along with their own content (or anything else they choose to buy). They are not the sole supplier of music, video, apps and books; while they may seek to set a standard, they will never manage to take over the world.

Perhaps the clue is in the older Apple adverts: "For the rest of us". Those users who want to do more complex things will buy the device that best suits them.

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Thumb Up

Really?

A insightful Orlowski article with Comments Enabled?

* The iPad is a glorified photo Frame. many of Those now have WiFi and access to Flicker etc.

* The iPad is an appliance, not a Tablet computer, as such for people that want a large iTouch/iPhone rather than managing the complexity of a Netbook or real tablet, it will be successful.

* It may sell well.

* It may make ARM/nonX86 internet gadgets more acceptable. But Archos has had 3 generations of those (A605, A705, A5, Android A5), some even with 3G.

* It's not going to affect the internet much, except that Media & Gadget sites will have iPad links as well as the current iPhone links for custom app or content from them.

Google OTH is getting quite worrying.

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Bronze badge

It's Michael Robertson all over again!

Oh, wait...

Seriously though, I'm sure a lot of Linuxers thought Robertson was the anitichrist with his Lindows app-store, but it was still Linux, you didn't exactly have to break it out of jail. So he wasn't too bad.

This app-store walled-garden thing is a great thing for most consumers who just want to get a fart app and be reasonably sure it's not a virus (if any of them care about viruses).

The thing is, no-one else can do app stores and they all want to compete with Apple. It was also a great point made by Mr Orlowski, that these things start at $499 for a model that you really can't use without a PC, partly because you'll not want to play your music from it (so you'll need an iPod and hence a PC). Plus, your granny might know about the Apple Store, but she might also know someone who works in the local Currys. She'll go there and she'll say she wants to get something special for little Johnny, one of these computer-things, since he's going to big school now. The Currys drone will sell her a netbook at 399 and she'll be happy and little Johnny will have to live with a stigma like he has HiTec trainers (not the silver shadows) instead of Nikes. True, Apple will make a killing from the iPad/Touch, but it is still only one company. Acer isn't going to want to go down without a fight and Intel is probably going to help them.

The closed world of consoles has probably given us many drawbacks, but you can still choose between three main players and any number of wannabes.

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Silver badge

Well bugger my old boots...

An article by AO (with comments enabled!) that I mostly agree with.

Of course he did rather ruin it by digressing in to his 'the internet is going to be ruined by Google' speech. Hmm. Maybe that was the point - it's not Apple but Google. However, either POV requires an impressive crystal ball to confirm.

But otherwise, not too bad.

Well done AO!

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Well bugger my old boots...

"by digressing in to his 'the internet is going to be ruined by Google' speech. Hmm. Maybe that was the point - it's not Apple but Google. However, either POV requires an impressive crystal ball to confirm."

I wouldn't even attempt to predict it either way.

The point is to describe the choices, and to ensure the various parties offering us choices outline them honestly.

Google knows what shape it wants the internet to be: it's one that maximises profits for Google (which is not a crime) but it also happens to be one that leaves no money on the table for other people. There are others, who are large and powerful too, have their own ideas about what shape the internet should be.

So now we can have an informed discussion.

That is all.

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Thumb Up

Not change the net.. but change something else..

Honestly, I don't intend to buy one of these. That being said, I don't see the device as being nearly as bad as the "fanbois" or likewise critics do. Here you have a multitouch device, running the iPhone OS, which here is not such a bad thing as well: I have seen quite a few "Custom" OS's for netbooks and small media devices.. and lets not get started on Chrome OS.

What I probably wont see, is people buying them, and putting them to a practical use. People who can't figure out how to use a computer, and want something even simpler to operate than a Mac, Preloaded Win7 configuration, or NetbookRemix by Ubuntu (or whomever), will probably take a bite. I mean really - lets look at the 15-25 year old market. Many of them use their machines for little more than 3 things:

1) Social networking (FB, Twitter, ect, ect)

2) Music

3) videos.

Yup, Throw that in my binder, and I'm ready for class.

And at a fraction of the price of a bigger laptop (or apple), it does have some appeal: after all, the same was true of the netbook market.

But.

And here is the big but, They're going to be sold as a novelty gadget. A colourful ebook reader and media player. what they COULD be doing with these devices (and I'm not just talking about apple here. I'm talking about any company looking at the iPad and saying "hmmmm"), is marketing them to the industry, which apple wont.

For a year now, I've convinced a few friends of mine to use iPods/iPhones for various other tasks than *gasp* games and watching podcasts. Lets imagine your pharmacist had a hand held database that crossreferenced your medication against other symptoms and meds, health care plans, and looked for cost alternatives, and even conflicts that could cause you harm. "There's an app for that"... and there was before the iPhone, which ran on palm platforms, amoung other things. what this touch device did was allow barcode scanning (camera) to quickly add new drug inventory to the database, show your clients the pills (if they couldn't remember the name - I've worked with a few older individuals from time to time), sign for things, etc etc. But only an incredible minority of the people owning devices like these, actually used them above and beyond their intended capabilities.

I'd love to see the iPad have a bit of success. Why? simple - drives inovation. Script to text recognition, image comparative software, incomming gesture sensors... start adding these to a device and you've got a highly versatile clipboard for hospitals, medical centers, delivery companies, you name it. and I don't care who provides it. But I think apple has the right idea for a device like this. Keep it simple, keep it app based, remove unnecessary system management access for a tool that isn't going to be maintained on the user level, make it adaptive to different roles, but above all, make it enjoyable and intuitive to use.

Would I trade up my notebook for one? not hardly. But would I use one in a business environment, in a generation or so when these changes are made? Why not.

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Jobs Halo

Not aimed at fanboys

I think most of you are missing the point – a PC without a keyboard is still a PC. What Apple have got for this device, that no-one else has, is an OS that is both simple to use, safe – almost idiot-proof – and quite functional. It is more like a grown up PDA than a laptop, but without the execrable Windows Mobile. This device and its controlled eco-system is exactly what a large number of people want and I predict that its sales will be monumental. Its another right time product from Apple, executed with its normal efficiency and flair.

If you want a small and/or keyboardless PC then get a Netbook or one of the Win 7 tablets, or better still a Macbook. The iPad is not for you. The comments to date have mostly been negative because most of the target market don't have or use their PC's yet.

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IT Angle

Compaq Concerto anyone?

Why do we think Apple is doing anything new here?

The technology is old (my first notebook was a Compaq Concerto way back in 386/486 days) and they have had closed apps forever without it destroying the world.

I've not actually looked at the specs, but from the article (and the comments) it seems like it isn't even a replacement for a netbook, let alone a notebook. What is the point of that?

The stylus of the Concerto was a clever way to replace a mouse for portable computing and, although it had its problems, was a real boon to actual mobile computing (standing up and doing something else that needed interaction) - they were widely used in the medical sector for example. The stylus-driven Palms and other PDAs took up the challenge and have become heavily used in embedded applications, but for some reason after Apple's failure with the Newton they developed a paranoia about any form of stylus and their current focus on entertainment has lead them further away from being a computer maker.

That's fine for them because they can make a tidy profit by delivering dumbed-down interfaces for specific jobs (yep, I have an iPod and am debating a Touch because Palm have stopped making PDAs for me to play games on while I am waiting for my flight) - but don't think this will change computing and certainly not the "world as we know it".

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B 9

Why do people use this tired argument?

One person said, "Why do we think Apple is doing anything new here?"

I guess I have two answers for that. First is why would they have to do anything new? This seems like a red herring argument that works for those naturally predisposed to hate Apple.

Second is we think it's new because it IS new. Show me another tablet that is ultra thin, damned near idiot proof, easy to use, a joy to use, with 140,000 apps on launch day, 10 hours of continuous video playback, both fun for play and still capable of productivity, ultra portable, wirelessly connected via wifi and (optionally) 3G, etc, etc?

While I know where you were trying to go with your pseudo argument I think you should try and understand how Apple has been working for much of the last decade. They are looking at things people are grudgingly using (love the idea, implementation sucks) and rethinking/redefining them into something enjoyable to use. While certain aspects of a tablet, or media player, or touch screen have been around, I don't recall anything that worked as easily and seemlessly as this. Time will tell whether it's a success, but I think they made an admirable first attempt. When it hits rev 2 then they'll have the minor objections cleaned up and then they will continue grabbing market share with a fine product.

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Silver badge

Choking the chicken?

That's what appears to be going on in that photo, at least.

I may not be a farmer, etc.

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Linux

I'll buy an iPad .....

... to use as a mouse mat.

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Heart

There are two types of people.

There's people who will buy the iPad because it looks great, it works, they don't have to worry about it, it's a lifestyle statement, it does what they need, they don't care about the price or the Apple lock-in. Then there are people who are all bent out of shape just because of the above plus they can't install BeOS or whatever on it. Apple have set their stall out in the former camp for a long time now, so there's no point everyone getting all het up.

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Bronze badge

There are three types of people

The other group is those who don't need/want an ipad (or a similar UMPC) and don't really care about it one way or the other. I would venture to suggest that this is by far, the largest of the three groups.

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Anonymous Coward

"There are three types of people"

Those who can count and those who want the iPad.

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Troll

Yes, there are two types of people...

...those that believe this article was AO trolling about the (Mess)i(ah)Pad and those that realise that AO was actually adressing some wider issues here, rather incisivley in his usual charmingly toxic fashion.

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Silver badge

Threaten the Internet?

I see a place for Eye Bads on coffee tables and in magazine racks near sofas, where they can serve as a designer accessoire, a conversation piece or be used for lazy internet browsing after dinner.

I can't picture people lugging them around much (except for dedicated followers of apple).

And as far as I am concerned - a DRM-infested, networked-locked LCD photoframe does not appeal to me in the very least...

So, no, I won't wet my bed out of fear that the internets will be consumed and subjugated by a monstrous Bad. At most what it can do is to gobble up some apple lovers on the fringes.

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